- Attorney Geoffrey Fieger on Tuesday released surveillance footage showing staff members at a Michigan youth facility restraining Cornelius Fredericks until he became unresponsive.
- The incident occurred at the Kalamazoo-based Lakeside for Children on April 29 after the 16-year-old Black teenager threw food in the cafeteria.
- He was pinned to the ground for almost 12 minutes by seven adult employees and lost consciousness. He died of cardiac arrest two days later.
- Cornelius' family is suing the now-closed facility for $100 million after his death was ruled a homicide.
- Three staffers have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in connection to the death.
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An attorney representing the family of Cornelius Fredericks, a 16-year-old Black teenager who died on May 1, on Tuesday that showed a Michigan youth facility's staff members restraining the boy and sitting on him until he lost consciousness.
The teenager's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit11选5精准杀号法 against in Kalamazoo and its staffing contractor, Sequel Youth and Family Services. They are seeking $100 million in damages and are represented by , who obtained footage of the April 29 encounter from the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's office.
"It is a horrific videotape and it demonstrates what other employees have told us is a culture of fear and abuse at the Lakeside facility," Fieger said during a virtual news conference on Tuesday. "One employee told us that in order to work there, all you needed was to be breathing and accept $13 per hour in pay. Other than that, they would hire anyone."
Someone who worked there had dubbed the facility "death row academy," Fieger added.
Fredericks wound up at Lakeside after his mother died in her sleep, which traumatized the teenager, according to Fieger. "When she passed away, his father had been imprisoned so effectively he was an orphan and he had no one to stay with ... and that's why he was there," he added. "He was a gregarious, well-liked child. He was a mentor for younger children."
11选5精准杀号法But, Fieger said, "He was executed ... for the crime of throwing a sandwich."
11选5精准杀号法At the start of , which has no audio, Fredericks is seen sitting at a cafeteria table. Two staffers approach him and one takes away his food tray as he appeared to throw food.
11选5精准杀号法At the time, Fredericks had a sandwich in his hand. When he tossed that, too, a staff member shoved him off his seat and on to the floor, where three staff members pounced on him. Other tables were pushed out of the way in the melee, and staff members were seen trying to straighten the teenager's legs and wrestle control of him.
11选5精准杀号法Four more staff members joined the effort to subdue Fredericks, with seven in total pinning nearly every part of the boy's body to the floor while other boys continued eating at tables nearby. An eighth staffer took the place of one of his coworkers and held down his arm.
"A gaggle of employees pounced on him," Fieger said. "You'll see his feet lifelessly lying there and you'll see these employees suffocating him to death. He urinated on himself. They deprived him of oxygen and his brain suffered irreversible ... damage."
He didn't try to fight back, Fieger said, while "these maniacs — I use that word advisedly because I think that's being kind to maniacs — are killing him for no reason whatsoever."
Fredericks screamed, "I can't breathe" when at least one staff member placed their weight on his chest, the Associated Press reported.
Fredericks became unresponsive while he was being subdued. He died two days later.
"What occurred to me as I watched this videotape is that the employees of this institution don't consider these children to be human beings," Fieger said, adding that Fredericks was "a commodity and, as a result, this type of inhuman behavior could exist."
Fredericks was down for at least 12 minutes before the police were called
11选5精准杀号法According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Fredericks was restrained for about 12 minutes, which is two minutes longer than the staff members' training allows. The investigation also said that a maximum of three adults should be involved in any such restraint, .
11选5精准杀号法After pinning him to the floor for several minutes, staff members attempted to make Fredericks sit up before checking his pulse, trying to roll him onto his side, and starting chest compressions and CPR. However, his body was limp by that point, the video shows.
Some employees reported that the teen was seen foaming at the mouth, per MLive. Yet the facility's nurse Heather McLogan stood by and watched the scene unfold before calling 911, Fieger alleged.
"You'll see the nurse standing there watching and several minutes after he's lying there, there's apparently a call by the nurse. She does nothing to in any way assist him and do what she's supposed to do. But several minutes after he's lying there, you'll see her slightly walk away, talk on a phone, and we believe that's the 911 call," Fieger said.
11选5精准杀号法Fieger said that Lakeside for Children declined to share the video with the legal team without a guarantee that it wouldn't be shared with the media. The footage itself appears to be edited because it jumps around and some sections are missing, he added.
11选5精准杀号法Sequel also tried to negotiate a settlement, Fieger said, saying that Fredericks' "life was worth less than a million dollars."
"It's intolerable," he said.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide
11选5精准杀号法Two days after the incident, Fredericks died of cardiac arrest at Bronson Methodist Hospital.
11选5精准杀号法"He was a child and he was brutalized in that fashion. It's unbelievable," Fieger said.
The medical examiner ruled Fredericks' death a homicide caused by complications from restraint asphyxia.
Dr. Ted Brown, who conducted the autopsy, told that "the complications of him being restrained, on the ground in a supine position by multiple people, is ultimately what led to his death."
Three employees — Michael Mosley, Zachary Solis, and Heather McLogan — were charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in connection with his death. Mosley and Solis are accused of restraining Fredericks while McLogan didn't provide him medical care, according to Fieger.
But Fieger said that Mosley and Solis had help, adding that "far more than two people were involved in suffocating him" and they, too, should face criminal charges. He added that this was a common mechanism used to discipline residents of Lakeside and Fredericks had been treated similarly before.
"Clearly this is not the first instance of its kind," he said.
State officials removed all the residents of the facility after the incident involving Fredericks and suspended its license, .
11选5精准杀号法After Fieger released the security footage, calling the death "senseless."
"We continue to mourn the senseless and tragic loss of Cornelius and are aware of the video footage released today," the statement reads. "The actions taken by the staff members in that video do not adhere to the Sequel and Lakeside Academy policies and procedures related to the use of emergency safety interventions as trained in the JKM Safe Crisis Management system."